Filipinos have loudly criticized the Philippine Fashion Week (PFW) for its recent use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in its collection--believing that its producers were capitalizing on the movement, and complaining that the country hadÂ more pressing social issues at hand.
The 24-year-old bi-annual show kicked off earlier this week with their new quarantine collection taking inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew traction after the the horrific killing of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck. The incident spurred a conversation on racial injustice not just in the U.S. but also in neighboring Asian countries.
The country’s longest-running fashion show produced several photos of a black model sporting clothing bearing the text #BlackLivesMatter and “I Can’t Breathe,” a line Floyd had uttered before he died.
“Philippine Fashion Week supports #BlackLivesMatter, a movement in protest of police brutality, racial violence, racial injustice, and economic inequality against African-American people. #BLM,” its organizers wrote on Instagram.
Pinoys on PFW’s Instagram expressed distaste on the use of the advocacy in the fashion campaign, but comments have since been turned off.
On Twitter, the same sentiment was echoed by @marineldizon, who wrote “This is DISGUSTING. If the organizers of Philippine Fashion Week truly wanted to make a statement, they’d focus on the problems we are facing locally, such as the war on drugs and extrajudicial killings. The Black Lives Movement is not something to be monetized.”
While there were fewer public conversations about racial injustice happening in the Philippines, Floyd’s killing had earlier spurred Filipinos to draw comparisons to police brutality in the country, citing the case of teenager Kian de los Santos who was shot dead by Caloocan cops in 2017, after the 17-year-old was suspected of peddling illegal drugs. De Los Santos was heard on CCTV pleading with police officers saying “Please, stop.”
This is DISGUSTING.
If the organizers of Philippine Fashion Week truly wanted to make a statement, they'd focus on the problems we are facing locally, such as the war on drugs and extrajudicial killings. The Black Lives Matter Movement is not something to monetized. pic.twitter.com/HI5b1npaYA
— Marinel Dizon (@marineldizon) August 12, 2020
Users like @Sining_ni_Gelo, meanwhile questioned questioned how far PFW is supporting the movement, “Are they going to give a portion of the money to the affected community?…Did they speak up for the oppressed before this? No, they really said fuck them I’m gonna capitalize on the movement.”
Philippine Fashion Week could not be reached for comments, and has yet to issue a statement on the issue.
But in an apparent attempt to appease the collection’s critics, its executive producer Tina Herrera said in a series of posts on PFW’s Facebook yesterday that sheÂ “grew up exposed to the strong influence of the black community” and has frequently “hired black creatives.”
not philippine fashion week using Black Lives Matter as a theme for a collection
are they going to give a portion of the money to the affected community? no idea
did they speak up for the oppressed before this? no
they really said fuck them im gonna âœ¨capitalize the movementâœ¨
— Jimbo Hotdog (@Sining_ni_Gelo) August 12, 2020
Where do you stand on all of this? Do you think that the show had good intentions? Or do you feel that it wass capitalizing on the movement? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.Â
This article, Philippine Fashion Week under fire for #BlackLivesMatter collection, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!